Mother's pelvis is structurally too small for normal deliveries of puppies or kittens
Puppy or kitten is unusually large; too large for the mother to deliver
Prior injury to mother's pelvis, for example, a fracture
Abnormal position of puppy or kitten
Uterus not contracting strongly enough
It is a good idea to check on the animal, but do not be overly attentive. If the dog or cat is in active labor for four or more hours with no puppy or kitten, or if more than two hours pass between puppies or kittens, or she has any of the above signs, speak to a veterinarian immediately for an assessment, and be prepared to get her to a veterinary hospital.
At the veterinary hospital, the attending veterinarian may attempt to treat her with medication to increase the force of contractions. Otherwise, a cesarean section may be performed.
(Some dogs and cats will stop labor
on their own if they are disturbed.)
Puppy or Kitten Visible But the Mother Cannot Push Any Further
Mother Not Cleaning Puppy or Kitten
1. Tie a piece of
fishing line or other heavy string
snuggly around the cord about one inch from the body, then a second tie about
a half inch from the first. (Do not pull on the cord or a hernia may
2. Cut between the two ties.
Cut the cord, but only after the
puppy or kitten is breathing and pink.
Puppy or Kitten Not Breathing
1. Wipe with a
towel. Clear the face, nose, eyes and mouth.
2. Hold the puppy or kitten firmly in your hand, pointing the head downwards towards the floor.
3. Clean away fluid from the nose and mouth. (You can suction gently with a baby dosing syringe or bulb syringe).
4. If the newborn is not breathing, perform rescue breathing (CPR). You do not have to seal off the mouth when performing rescue breathing, because the newborn should be small enough for you to put your mouth over both the mouth and nose.
5. Repeat vigorous rubbing with a towel, holding the puppy or kitten on a slight downward slant to remove any fluids. Continue to administer rescue breathing as needed (CPR). Do not over shake or jostle the newborn.
Call your veterinarian!